Serbia urged to normalize relations with Kosovo

- British Foreign Secretary Hammond has said Serbia should implement the Brussels agreement on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina (AA) - The implementation of the Brussels agreement on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is important for Serbia’s membership into the European Union, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday.

Hammond made the remarks after meeting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

"When it comes to the opening of negotiating chapters, implementation of the Brussels agreement on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is really important. Momentum is everything in politics and maintaining this momentum is critical. As soon as we open the chapter, it is better for Serbia," he said.

He pointed out that London strongly supported Serbia's commitment to EU and stressed "we will continue to support it."

Vucic said the British foreign secretary’s visit to Belgrade was an opportunity for Serbia to once again highlight its strategic, tactical, political and economic goals.

"Serbia will not give up on these goals. We believe, thanks to economic reforms, we will achieve a number of successes. 2015 will be the year of success of our reforms and the key development for Serbia. In this context, I have no doubt U.K. will support," the Serbian premier said.

He added that Serbia faced important tasks, such as presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe apart from the opening of a chapter in the EU negotiations.

Hammond also met Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic. In a statement, Nikolic said that he expected three chapters to open for Serbia's EU membership.

"It is clear that Serbia should be regulated according to EU standards. Because the EU is not the shelter of undeveloped countries. Many things depend on Serbia and everybody knows it," the president said.

The British foreign secretary welcomed Serbia's attempts to improve relations with regional countries.

Hammond will travel from Belgrade Wednesday afternoon to Zagreb and he is expected to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital Sarajevo on Friday.

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